Moments of Eternity
Sometimes now I think back to moments when I lived in eternity, and that seems to put a meaning into the arc of my ordinary and unremarkable life.
I look across the valley of my wooded canyon to the ridge beyond. The morning sun sprinkles bright highlights on the green leaves of eucalyptus quavering in the breezes sloshing up and down the canyon, as the thinnest vapor of moisture glides up the corridor of light between the ridges, veiling the far side in a gauze of renewal. The massed fronds of the far side forest sway in small gentle random palpitations as if polyps in a coral reef feeding in the tidal surges of sky that sweep through our living space.
I see a sunburst sparkle a pine-top against an azure sky on a chill January morning.
I see my little girl splash in a muddy puddle on a frigid February day in a park abandoned by all but two ducks standing one-legged on the island in the little pond, and then again that night when she fell asleep on my warm chest against my heartbeat on the couch.
I see a hummingbird eye-to-eye a beak-length away from my nose on a languid August afternoon lounging with wine and the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.
I see gleeful tussles with my children on the couch and pillows and carpet, their joyful splashing in their bath, their dinner made while the bathroom floods, their drift into innocent sleep, city lights on the distant horizon of a clear evening, and watching the cactus flower bloom all through night with the cats electrified to live that outside darkness with me as I stretched to reach into it to the stars.
I see me writing out with pen the Greek symbols of mathematical equations realizing I’d solved a problem no one else had ever seen, while outside birds get drunk on fermented pyracantha berries in the ripening afternoon sun of late summer, and watching that light rest still, knowing.
I see me walking across campus into the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 to the realization that I now knew my life’s mission, and catching the sight of my sweetest lover walking with a smile toward me, both knowing we would share the music of the day and the poetry of the night, vindicating the gifts of our youth.
I see me canoeing out across the summertime lake to the far island near the girl’s camp, to slip out of sight behind it, beach my canoe, and swing from the rope tied to the overhanging tree limb to plunge into the fresh water, before waving to the girls on the beach across the narrow channel, who waved in their own delight, and paddling back to the boys’s camp so fulfilled in my solitary reverie.
Seeing Through The Fake Smiles
Sometimes it is charitable to interrupt a person’s illusions with the truth, and sometimes it is charitable to refrain from interrupting and let people drift to their consequences. Which is better depends on how much harm to all others can be prevented. You gain merit by making that choice wisely, and by containing the inevitable pain of your awareness within your necessary silences.
How do you succeed in life?: Luck.
How do you succeed in business?: Crime.
How do you find fulfillment?: By not letting a need for success rule you.
I try not to hate but it’s not easy. When I do, I remind myself that cruel and heartless people have too much fear to be kind. And I tell myself: don’t be like them.
Truth be told: nobody cares what struggles you had to go through to arrive at this point in your survival, but I in my endless and selfish imperfection am glad that you have arrived — if done without malice. I remain a dreamer wanting a better world.
Youth must always rediscover reality on its own. Wise parents accept their own eclipsing with equanimity.
It is so satisfying to stand next to the heater and ward off the December chill; to look out at the glorious morning light streaming westward into my green-glowing canyon freshly drenched by a week of rain; to see my night-cloud of a cat coiled up in a sleeping spiral on my bed.
On this bright warm spring day in early February I watch my unseen world passing to the sound of birdsong.
8 February 2022